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Content archived on 2024-04-19

European data base for indoor air pollution sources in buildings


A three year research programme has been established. Its objectives are: to develop standardized measuring methods and models for emissions from indoor air pollution sources in chemical and sensory terms depending on age, air pollution concentration, air velocity, temperature and humidity; to develop a model predicting indoor air quality in real spaces in chemical and sensory terms as a function of emission data and quality and supply rate of outside air; to advance the knowledge of sorption characteristics of surfaces; to develop a database containing emission data on individual building materials, HVAC components, entire HVAC systems and entire buildings quantified in chemical and sensory terms. Furthermore, the database will include an evaluation of the resulting levels of indoor air pollution based on a model predicting indoor air quality in real spaces and on existing toxicological knowledge.

The deliverables of this research project will include a userfriendly computerized data base containing available and new information on emissions for materials and HVAC components in chemical and sensory terms. Also included in the data base will be information on emissions for entire buildings and HVAC systems; a thorough description of the chemical and sensory measurement protocols used for assessing the emissions from building materials and HVAC components; a quality assurance program including intercalibration procedures to be used within the participating countries; technical progress reports (6 or 12 months interval); and a newsletter (two issues per year).

PROJECT 40% of primary energy consumption in Europe is used in buildings and half that amount is used for comfort purposes (heating, air conditioning and ventilation).
People in the developed countries of the world spend typically 80-90% of their time indoors. Studies in thousands of buildings have documented that many people are seriously bothered by the indoor environment. To design and construct buildings with a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is an obvious aim. Practice has demonstrated that compliance with present ventilation standards does not guarantee good indoor air quality. A major fault has been that these standards assumed that the occupants were the only polluters. In fact, pollution sources in a building may comprise construction materials, furnishing and carpeting, as well as components in the ventilation system.

The project will involve four main tasks.

1) Data base structure: Five subtask groups will prepare the data base structure on: chemical emissions; sensory assessments; toxicological consequences of the pollutants emitted; selection of a commercial data base management system for the implementation of the data base. The findings of the above will be presented at an international seminar.

2) Characterization of indoor pollution sources: this research will address both the dynamic behavior of pollution sources and the methods used for their characterization. The specific areas of research are: age; concentration of pollutants in the indoor air; temperature and humidity; effect of air velocity on emission rates; partial versus full exposure; small-scale versus full-scale testing; sorption effects; 3) Definition of standardized measuring methods for chemical and sensory characterization of emissions for individual building materials and HVAC components and development of a quality assurance program including intercalibatration in the participating countries.4) Production of the data base, including the selection of materials to be tested and the emission data of 50-100 typical indoor pollution sources (incl. HVAC components). A toxicological evaluation of the chemicals emitted will be performed.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Rua Dr. Roberto Frias
4200-465 PORTO

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Participants (11)